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A story / question relayed to me by my sister in law...

One of her friends lived in an area that had no eruv. She had heard that men were allowed to wear key tie tacks on Shabbat as a way to "carry" the house key as the key tie tack was now considered a piece of jewelry and one is allowed to wear jewelry on Shabbat.

So, she made a pin on the back of her key, and wore the key pin. Her rav said, no, this doesn't work for a woman, since a key pin is not considered a piece of jewelry. So, she placed a diamond on the pin above the key and now wore the pin, assuming that the diamond, being a jewel, now turned this into an actual pin and now made it the status of "jewelry". (My sister in law didn't relate the end of the story as to whether the rav had approved of this idea, or not.)

It's a standard (gold / silver) house lock key. A diamond fills the place where the hole on the key would be (i.e. the hole where a key chain or ring would usually be slipped.) The back side of the key has a pin with a clasp, similar to a large safety pin.

Is adding a gem stone to the key pin valid enough to make this jewelry and allow a woman to wear a house key on Shabbat?

  • Can you maybe include a picture? It's hard to understand exactly what's going on. – Double AA Oct 31 '16 at 20:03
  • I know a very fromm woman who has a really nice brooch which also serves as a Shabbos key. I could ask her if she has a p'sak supporting her practice. – Noach MiFrankfurt Oct 31 '16 at 20:10
  • yeshiva.co/ask/?id=6944 – Gershon Gold Oct 31 '16 at 20:23
  • @DoubleAA See above edits. I don't have a pic, so I hope the description is clear enough. – DanF Oct 31 '16 at 21:54
  • This doesn't sound like anything anyone would wear as jewelry ordinarily. – Double AA Oct 31 '16 at 21:59
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I asked my Rav and he explained that the pin has to be a piece of jewelry in itself that would be worn even if the key no longer works on the lock. In that case it is jewelry. If the woman would not wear it if it did not work then it is not a piece of jewelry and cannot be worn on Shabbat.

An example is a woman named Devorah who got a jeweled pin shaped like a bee that had a key as part of the bee's body (between the wings). After they moved out of the house for which it was made, she continued to wear it because it was a nice piece of jewelry.

  • I know it has been a while since I posted this question, and you posted this answer. If you still have contact with the rav, I would like some info to his Mar'eh Mekomot. This is an interesting Chiddush. – DanF Aug 29 '17 at 13:19
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The basic knowledge regarding this question is in mishnayot Shabbat (chapter 6 mishnayot 1& 2). The mishna taugth with which jewel a man can go outside and with which he can't, with which jewel a woman can go outside ot and with which she can not :

פרק ו - משנה א

בַּמֶּה אִשָּׁה יוֹצְאָה וּבַמָּה אֵינָהּ יוֹצְאָה. לֹא תֵצֵא אִשָּׁה לֹא ‏ ... וְלֹא בְטַבַּעַת שֶׁאֵין עָלֶיהָ חוֹתָם, ‏

A woman is not allowed to go out wearing a ring which does not wear a seal.

Bartenura explains:

חוֹתָם. צוּרָה לַחְתֹּם בָּהּ אִגְּרוֹת אוֹ כָּל דְּבַר סֵתֶר, וְאַף עַל גַּב דְּתַכְשִׁיט הוּא לָהּ אָסוּר, דִּלְמָא שָׁלְפָא וּמְחַוְיָא, אֲבָל יֵשׁ עָלֶיהָ חוֹתָם, דְּלָאו תַּכְשִׁיט הוּא לָהּ, אָמְרִינַן לְקַמָּן דְּחַיֶּבֶת חַטָּאת, וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמּוֹצִיאָתוֹ בְּאֶצְבָּעָהּ דֶּרֶךְ מַלְבּוּש, לְפִי שֶׁפְּעָמִים שֶׁהַבַּעַל מֵסִיר אוֹתוֹ מֵאֶצְבָּעוֹ וְנוֹתֵן אוֹתוֹ לְאִשְׁתּוֹ לְהַצְנִיעוֹ, וְהִיא נוֹתַנְתּוֹ בְּאֶצְבָּעָהּ וְהוֹלֶכֶת בּוֹ, וְנִמְצָא שֶׁדֶּרֶךְ הוֹצָאָתוֹ בְּכָךְ. וְכֵן טַבַּעַת שֶׁאֵין עָלֶיהָ חוֹתָם דְּלֹא הֲוֵי תַּכְשִׁיט לָאִישׁ, חַיָּב חַטָּאת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמּוֹצִיאוֹ בְּאֶצְבָּעוֹ דֶּרֶךְ מַלְבּוּשׁ, שֶׁפְּעָמִים שֶׁהָאִשָּׁה נוֹתַנְתּוֹ לוֹ שֶׁיּוֹלִיכֶנּוּ לָאֻמָּן, וְהוּא מוֹצִיאוֹ בְּאֶצְבָּעוֹ: ‏

To go outside wearing a simple ring without seal is prohibited rabbinically because of the fear that she will take it out to show others. But to wear a ring wearing a seal is prohibited by Torah and punishable by Korban Chat'at (for shogeg). The reason is that it is not considered as a jewelery, so while weared normally, this is not adapted to woman. Similarly, a man wearing a ring without seal in same conditions is punishable by Korban Chat'at.

See Shulchan Aruch OC 307, 10 which stated exactly as this.

If tie pin is at first glance a masculine jewelery, with diamond or without diamond does not change the problem. If the pin is not specific to cravat and can be seen as a woman pin, no problem. If the diamond make the difference, so your sister in law has found a good solution (perhaps a little expansive).

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